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Closing Chords: 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Gala

Heather Kurzbauer

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Published: October 10, 2015 at 11:04 PM [UTC]

The pleasure to hear all six finalists in the closing gala concert at the 9th Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition brought home the message that it is music that wins the day. High-points of the evening followed one another in brisk tempo as three additional prizes, the Special Prize (3000 euros for the best interpretation of the compulsory composition, Robert Coleman’s "Cut up"); the Audience Prize (5000 euros) and a Community Prize of 1000 euros.

4th prize winner Benjamin Marquise Gilmore treated the audience to color-infused dream harmony and sinuous sound in Prokofiev’s Five Melodies. The poet amongst the finalists deserves a loyal following of supporters in the near future. Bravos continued from Gilmore to 3rd prize winner Richard Lin who exuded warmth, charm and confidence in his contrasting gala gifts wonderfully supported by Melanie M.Y. Chae: Achron’s Hebrew Melody and Joachim’s arrangement of the Brahms Hungarian Dance no. 7.

Ayana Tsuji winner of the 5th prize won the hearts of the both the public and a ‘special jury’ composed of music critics including your faithful reporter. One of the jewels in Hannover’s crown, the youngest contestant delighted the composer and fellow jury members with a performance of the compulsory composition that projected super human passion into the weighty score.

A competition is but a reflection of a moment, a long moment consisting of a candidate's presentation in a series of rounds in which jury members consider criteria such as: technical mastery, talent for musical projection, career potential and communicative abilities. It would be an understatement to state that it is monumentally difficult to whittle down a considerable field of fine players to a select group of six as the spectrum of subjectivity as to “what is talent?” could fill volumes. And, as the non-voting jury president Krzysztof Wegrzyn shared, “each and every one of the 35 candidates selected to participate are winners in terms of their achievements and artistry.” The juries and public have spoken, let the music play on and on.


Ayana Tsuji. Photo by Benjamin Bonouvrier.

  • Audience Prize: Ayana Tsuji
  • Community Award (reflecting the opinions of online voters from 104 countries): Richard Lin

Performances from the Joachim Competition can be viewed on the competition's website: Click here to listen to the latest performances and click here to view archived performances.

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